For Ukrainian circus performers, the future is still up in the air

For Ukrainian circus performers, the future is still up in the air

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (AP) — For nearly a year Escape Ukraine Amidst the bombs and terror of Russia’s invasion of Hungary, more than 100 young circus performers still hold intensive daily training sessions in Budapest while waiting to see what an uncertain future holds.

The group, whose members range in age from 5 to 20, found a home with the circus in the capital of Budapest after leaving their circus school and living in the cities of Kharkiv and Kiev in March 2022.

Coach Svetlana Momot, who escaped Kharkiv is the second largest city in UkraineWith an initial group of 12 of his students last year, Monday watched and reflected as some of the young circus artists dangled from hanging rings, dangled from aerial silks and rehearsed acrobatic stunts in one of Budapest Circus’ training halls.

Momot said that over the past year, the performers have had to learn to live together, cook, clean and study. But from the beginning his aim was, despite their ouster from their homes, them Intensive daily training will not be interrupted.

“When they’re busy (training), they don’t have time to think about bad things. It confuses them,” Momot said. “What I see is that we live as a family and a creative team. … I think it hasn’t affected their training, and I try to keep them in the form they were in Ukraine.”

After Russia invades Ukraine, Budapest circus and a Hungarian school for acrobats Their solidarity expands For Ukrainian performers, they provide housing, food and the ability to continue their training, said Peter Fekete, director of Budapest’s Capital Circus.

“We need to understand that all people need a purpose in life. Even an 8-year-old child can ask, ‘Why am I alive, what is my purpose on earth?'” Fekete said.

“If we provide opportunities for training, and if we set goals that we want to achieve through opportunities to perform, then they will not only focus on the difficult situations they are in in their daily lives, but the artistic performance can fulfill them. Lives to some degree,” he said.

Anna Lysitska, a 14-year-old acrobat, said it was difficult at first to adapt to life in Hungary after fleeing her home in Kharkiv. But focusing on his training, he said, helped ease the transition.

“It was difficult at first, but then we got used to it a bit and started going to our training sessions,” he said. “We set a routine and then started studying at a Hungarian school. We love it here.”

Lisitska’s twin sister, Maria, first liked about Hungary because “there were no explosions,” but she has since developed friendships that make being away from home easier.

“When we came to this school, we immediately became friends (with the Hungarians) and started communicating with them, so I have a positive feeling about it,” Maria said.

Although some performers plan to eventually join their family members who have settled in countries such as Germany and Slovakia, almost all of them Want to return to Ukraine Whenever the war ends, Momot said.

“We were all in the same situation where we had no choice but to leave people behind in Ukraine. Our families are broken,” she said.

Nevertheless, as Russia Attempts to invade eastern Ukraine And to strengthen its grip on other parts of the country, it is still unclear when the performers will be able to safely return to their homes. until then, their futureAnd the question of where home is is in the air.

The Ukrainian team recently returned from a competition in Monte Carlo, Fekete said, where two performers brought home gold and silver medals.

“When I hugged a little girl at the airport and I said we were going home, I corrected myself and said, ‘Well, to my house.’ He stopped me and said, ‘This is home for me, too,’” she said.


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